At the beginning of April, Guardians of the Galaxy writer and director James Gunn handed in a story treatment for the sequel to Marvel. What Gunn wrote was a whopping 70 pages long and his process is that of plotting out the entire story before writing it into a screenplay.
Gunn is part of Marvel Studios' inner circle and he knows the larger gameplan for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fortunately for him, since the nature of the Guardians sees them off-Earth, and many of the aliens and characters they come across in the Marvel Comics are actually owned by another film studio (Twentieth Century Fox), Gunn has more creative freedom than any other Marvel writer and director to date. That's why his take on Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will deviate greatly from the comics, so much so that Marvel labeled it "risky."
But they're running with it and trust Gunn's vision. And that might be the best thing going for the team-up sequel when compared to Avengers: Age of Ultron which was criticized for focusing too much on setting up what's next instead of its own characters and plots. Guardians 2 isn't a setup movie for Avengers 3 and it doesn't rely on the other movies (yet) even though it is a major part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In various Periscope live stream sessions, James Gunn spent time chatting with fans and answering questions and in these he explained that he was rushing to finish his first draft of the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 script in time for him to travel to Columbia to shoot his next film, The Belko Experiment, which he is writing and producing. The first day of shooting for Belko was today, the same day Gunn shared a teaser for the completed first draft of his GOTG 2 script. He did it and it only took 48 non-stop days:
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) June 2, 2015
Phew. After 48 days straight without a day off, the the first draft of #GotG2 is done. I'm sorry to all my friends and family who I have ignored.
And to the point of creative freedom with the Guardians followup, Gunn responded to a comment about the process of fitting in movies into Marvel's larger plans and who tells who what.
"I told Marvel what I wanted to do, and they said okay. They gave me nothing. That said, I already know where things are basically going. But the important thing to me is GotG2 only right now - making it a great movie."
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 doesn't begin shooting until February 2016 for its May 2017 release date so there are plenty of revisions to come throughout the rest of the year. With most movies, and certainly Marvel films, the early drafts of the screenplay serve more or less as a baseline. Writers like Joss Whedon (Avengers 1 & 2) and James Gunn constantly tweak and make changes during production, even on the day of shooting a sequence, most of the time to fit in better dialogue or build scenes around what the talent is suggesting for different sequences.
As for what to expect from the sequel, we know it'll delve deeper into understanding the relationships of the main characters. It'll be a "story about fathers" where the identity of Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) dad will be revealed. In a May 21st Periscope session, Gunn said "Star-Lord's dad is likely from the comics... I mean he is from the comics. Sort of."
We can also expect two additional characters to join the Guardians roster, one familiar character and one who's yet to be introduced - one of them will be a female character based on what Gunn told us while promoting Guardians 1. On that same live stream broadcast, Gunn reiterated a few things about the sequel to temper fan expectations, while also sharing a few other interesting quotes:
- No Hulk.
- No Captain Marvel
- Loved Kodi Smit-McPhee and suggested him for Peter Parker, not realizing he was playing Nightcrawler for Fox's X-Men: Apocalypse.
- On the possibility of including Rom: "Rom: Spaceknight I cannot do because Marvel does not have the rights." He did confirm before that his favorite character will be in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
- "That was not Beta Ray Bill's skeleton in the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn't even think about it. It does look like Beta Ray Bill's skeleton but when I designed it I just wanted an alien looking skeleton and that's what they gave me, and I didn't think it looked like Beta Ray Bill but it does."
- Gunn says he has no time to be a part of a Guardians of the Galaxy TV show and would never direct an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. He hasn't even watched it.
- No surprise here, but Tyler Bates is back to compose GOTG 2.
The interesting takeaway from Gunn's sharing of an image of his draft however is the specific mention of not including the full title of the film. In his Tweet, he cites avoiding spoilers and that seemingly including the title which can only mean the film may have a subtitle instead of following the numerical scheme indicated in announcement logos shared at Comic-Con and Marvel's fan event on October.
It's likely Guardians of the Galaxy 2 doesn't have a "2" at all, leaving only Iron Man has the one Marvel series that used numbers. This helps solidify Guardians as its own larger brand, a sub-franchise like Avengers that doesn't have to get bogged down in sequential numbers. It helps each film stand alone in a way but the fact that it's still a secret could mean something.
Previous reports indicated that the working production title of the sequel is "Guardians 3000" which is a very loaded title that refers not only to the original Guardians of the Galaxy team from the comics who hail from the future, but the concept of time-travel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (bring on the Time Gem!). What do you think - could the sequel be named Guardians of the Galaxy 3000 or something else from space-based crossovers like Guardians of the Galaxy: Annihilation?
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